The composers have worked together for over 30 years and were inspired by Stephen R. Lawhead's Celtic fantasy novel, "In the Region of the Summer Stars - Book 1" (Eirlandia Series). This album continues the collaborative work between the musicians and author.
The album's contemporary Celtic style music includes flute, pennywhistle, light female vocalizing by Janet Marie Chvatal, guitars and a fiddler, drums, and assorted piano and synth contributions.
There's a mix of upbeat and slow meditative pieces, like the contemplative Track 2: Tir na nOg. Whether the listener has read the book or not, the sequence of songs on the album are intended to convey the feeling of a musical journey. This is done through variations on pacing/tempo, instrumental textures, melodic content, and synthesized background effects. Track 5: House of Llyr is a piece that slowly builds up from a vaguely haunting synth texture of piano, bells, and effects. A flute melody is supplemented with the fiddle as the piece develops. As the song winds to a close, the flute provides a counterpoint to the fiddle melody. The lead instruments fade out to the background textures as the song ends. The journey gains momentum in Track 7: Tara Hill. The energetic drumming track starts the song with synth effects. Strings and other lead instruments join the texture and increase the drama. The album closes with Track 8: The Kingdom of All Tomorrows.
Anyone who enjoys the Celtic music genre will like this album. The production standards are high and the musical compositions are finely crafted and performed by skilled musicians.
~review by Elizabeth Hazel
Artists: Jeff Johnson and Brian Dunning
2018, Ark Records
8 tracks, 33 minutes
CD $14.99, mp3 $7.92